Stocks Near Session Lows Despite Large Build in Oil Reserves

By Ellie Ismailidou and Sara Sjolin, MarketWatch

Weak U.S. services data fuel stock rout; financials, energy tumble as oil slumps

U.S. stocks pared earlier losses as crude prices came off their lows Wednesday morning, but equities were still deep in the red.

A flurry of weak U.S. economic data didn't help market sentiment, as investors moved out of so-called risk-sensitive assets like stocks and into gold and U.S. government bonds.

The S&P 500 lost 22 points, or 1.2%, to trade at 1,898 on Wednesday, led by sharp losses in financial and consumer-discretionary stocks.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 203 points, or 1.3%, to 16,224. Nearly all 30 of the blue-chip gauge's components were in negative territory. Losses were led by a 3% drop in shares of Caterpillar Inc. (CAT), while United Technologies Corp. (UTX), the recent subject of merger talk, was the sole component in the green, up 2.3%.

The Nasdaq Composite tumbled 55 points, or 1.2%, to 4,448.